jd_venegas jd_venegas

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Did I mention that the gorgeous San Gimignano has a torture museum? And that they used to perform torture in the fortress? BECAUSE THERE'S THE GODDAMN TORTURE RACK.

This is the view from San Gimignano. You can look in any direction from the edge of the town and fucking see this. Yeah.

This is the beautiful town of San Gimignano. It is a former fortress and monastery converted into a quaint tourist stop. It feels very much like the Italy we see in movies. A tad cliche, sure, but rarely have I been to such a peaceful place.

The Arno, as it cuts through Firenze (Florence). The cities of Italy have their more modern architecture built in and around their historical sites. Literally turning around can transport you in time. Incidentally, or perhaps because of it, this arrangement is what makes the country work efficiently as a tourism region.

The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. It was impossible to take a picture that would capture how utterly massive the structure was. It seriously took ten minutes just to walk around the whole thing. So I present the incredibly intricate center of the front facing.

Dante Algihieri, an amazing and (for his time) surprisingly progressive author. His works provide much of the imagery Catholics use to convey their ideas about the afterlife. Not sure of the truth of this, but I was told he had a major influence on the modern Italian language.

We've all seen pictures of this statue, but seeing it in person is a totally different experience. It's twenty feet tall and standing on a five foot plinth. Its proportions are completely realistic. It's like standing before a demi-god. I kept expecting the head to turn and look at me.

Atlas, unfinished. You hear about Michelangelo growing up, but it's not until you see how even his unfinished side projects are amazing that you realize how good he was. I've seen it for myself now. He is, in my opinion, the greatest classical artist.

You see this amazing statue? Do you see the beauty and anatomical detail? Yeah, it's celebrating the rape of a town's worth of women. I find it a poignant reminder how our history can be really, really fucked up and then polished for mass consumption.

Do you see this man? He cooks at Villa Machiavelli in Tuscany. If you have the opportunity, get your ass to Tuscany and have him cook you a meal and bring you some wine. Holy shit. I'm sweating and twitching thinking about that meal.

The interior of the Basilica. Beneath this beautiful church is the tomb of St. Francis. Ignore the creepy photobomber on the bottom right.

On the way from Roma to Firenze, we stopped in Assisi. This is the Basilica of St. Francis, shrouded in fog. Freezing cold there, but beautiful.

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